Visiting Arches National Park is like visiting another planet, one with thousands of natural sandstone arches, red rocks and landforms in amazing configurations, and light that seems to change every moment. The way the shadows play across the arches makes the park especially intriguing for photographers, who are drawn to capturing its enchanting vistas at dawn and dusk in particular. But Arches National Park is not just a shutterbug's paradise.
Sitting 5 miles northwest of Moab, Utah, the park boasts 26 miles of scenic road and hikes for every level of fitness. Hikers can choose from a wide variety of trails, from short 20-minute walks to Balanced Rock and the Double Arch, to more remote and challenging treks through the Fiery Furnace and up to Delicate Arch. When you need to come back down to Earth, simply look up: the Colorado Plateau is home to some of the darkest skies in the contiguous 48 United States, yielding impressive views of the Milky Way.
There are no restaurants or lodges in Arches National Park, so you'll need to bring your own food or plan to dine in neighboring Moab, Utah, about 5 miles from the park entrance. There are several places to picnic throughout the park, so plan ahead if you want to eat with Arches as your backdrop. You’ll find tables near the visitor center, the Delicate Arch Viewpoint and across the road from Balanced Rock.
All types of cuisine, from American to Thai, can be found in Moab. For a casual meal, the Moab Diner and Ice Cream Shoppe is a local favorite thanks to its burgers, shakes and reasonable prices. Another highly recommended restaurant is the Desert Bistro, located in a charming converted adobe house. The menu changes regularly with the season, but diners can count on seafood flown in from the coast (east or west), handmade pastas, and organic meats. Meanwhile, the Moab Brewery is a fun spot to try a local brew and dine on pub food.
The best way to get around Arches National Park is by car. There is no public transportation inside Arches National Park, though commercial tours are offered by companies in Moab, Utah, which sits about 5 miles southeast of the park entrance. Visitors can also ride bikes in the park, though there are no bike lanes or shoulders, so this is more of an option for experienced cyclists. The entrance to the park is north of the town of Moab.
Most travelers fly into Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT), about 110 miles east of the park entrance in Colorado, or into Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), about 230 miles north of the park entrance. Rental cars are readily available at either airport.See details for Getting Around
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